Dissidents in Cuba
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Dissident neurosurgeon allowed to leave Cuba

Dissident neurosurgeon allowed to leave Cuba
Reuters
6 mins ago

HAVANA (Reuters) – A prominent neurosurgeon has been given permission to
leave Cuba, 15 years after breaking ranks with former leader Fidel
Castro over the communist-ruled island's healthcare system, authorities
said on Friday.

Hilda Molina, 66, had complained publicly for years about being denied
permission to leave Cuba and join her only son and grandchildren in
Argentina and asked Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to intercede
on her behalf last year.

In Buenos Aires, Fernandez said on Friday the Cuban government had
finally issued the papers Molina needed to travel. "She has been granted
a passport by the Cuban authorities and also authorization to leave the
country for Argentina," Fernandez told reporters.

Molina picked up her Argentine visa at the South American nation's
embassy in Havana on Friday.

"She was very emotional and grateful to the government of President Raul
Castro," said Argentine diplomat Pedro Von Eyken.

He did not elaborate and it was not immediately clear when Molina would
actually leave the island, where many dissidents say they are denied the
right to travel abroad.

Government officials could not be reached for immediate comment.

Molina, once a Communist Party member who was elected to Cuba's
parliament in 1993, had her falling out with Fidel Castro a year later
when she began asserting that the government's objective of free,
quality medical care for all was eroding due to Cuba's pressing need for
foreign currency.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, she maintained that the
government had begun catering to "medical tourists," turning Cuban
healthcare into a profit-making business with disparities in quality of
treatment for Cubans and foreigners.

Raul Castro took over as president on February 24, 2008, after his
brother retired due to health problems.

Fidel Castro has said Molina was forced out of the government for
seeking to take over the state-run International Center for Neurological
Rehabilitation, which she once ran.

But in the prologue to a book in June last year, he also said her case
provided "excellent material for imperialist blackmail against Cuba."

Cuban authorities consider dissidents to be mercenaries working for the
United States, which has openly supported opposition to Cuba's
communist-run government.

(Reporting by Esteban Israel and Karina Grazina in Buenos Aires, Editing
by Tom Brown)

Dissident neurosurgeon allowed to leave Cuba – Yahoo! News (12 June 2009)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090612/wl_nm/us_cuba_doctor_1

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